As has become an annual tradition, I participated as a silent auction item at the Orlando Shakes gala. The prize is for a couple to join me at a restaurant and help me review it.
And as has also become a tradition, the successful bidders were John and Rita Lowndes. And so we gathered at Tap Room at Dubsdread, whose owner, Steve Gunter, had graciously donated the meal to benefit the theater company.
We gathered at the restaurant on a Thursday evening and found it at full capacity, but our reserved table was waiting for us. Tap Room at Dubsdread has been known as a place for power lunches with the city’s movers and shakers gathering to see and be seen as much as to have a good meal.
There was a lot of moving and shaking still going on at dinnertime. And when you have people like the Lowndes at your table, you can expect a lot of the shakers in the room to move toward them to pay their respects.
We started by sharing the Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Flatbread, a long plank of crispy crust loaded with a generous amount to the titular toppings. “The flatbread was absolutely delicious,” exc;aimed Rita. “an it was good with the olive spread left over from the [complimentary] rolls.”
For her entree, Rita chose the Seared Sea Scallops, served with asparagus. She declared the scallops to also be delicious, “and so was the asparagus, done with just a bit of a crunch, not soggy or hard. The fresh lemon on it was perfect and I loved swapping out the Caesar salad with their homemade dressing for spinach.
John was a bit bemused by the concept of chicken fried chicken, which he selected as his entree. “Chicken fried chicken is not fried chicken,” he said, “it’s something else, but it’s very good. It was cooked very well and was very moist.” He did say that the broccoli that accompanied his not-fried-chicken chicken was a tad overcooked but liked it anyway. “And my Irish mother would have loved the mashed potatoes. When I was a child we had mashed potatoes every meal.”
For my part, I selected one of Tap Room’s high quality steaks, the Cowboy Ribeye, cooked to a rosy red medium rare, just the way I like it. I also enjoyed the asparagus, agreeing with Rita about their on-point doneness. And I sided with John’s mother about the quality of the mashed potatoes.
For dessert, we shared a big slice of moist carrot cake with a yummy cream cheese icing. And the Brownie Sundae, served in a short jar and topped with lots of whipped cream. The brownie was moist and chocolatey.
The Tap Room staff kept things moving along. Their friendly demeanor fits the style of the restaurant. And they’re a big part of why Tap Room at Dubsdread continues to be one of the most popular restaurants in town.
Tap Room at Dubsdread is at 549 Par St., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily; brunch on Sundays. The phone number is 407-650-0100.